Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Twice-Baked Cheese and Chicken Sausage Potatoes

Turn a simple baking potato into dinner for two with a topping of savory chicken sausage, sharp cheddar, and a cool, fresh salsa to finish it off. With a minimal amount of meat and cheese and plenty of fresh vegetables, these “loaded” baked potatoes are nothing to feel guilty about.

And this is key: To bring out the spud’s creamiest texture and natural potato flavor, give it time to bake slowly in the oven. No microwaves, please!

Serves 2

  • 1 russet baking potato (about 3/4 lb)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 2 tsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sweet Italian chicken sausages, casings removed (about 1/2 lb total)

Baked Potato Ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Scrub the potato and use a small, sharp knife to slightly pierce the skin in several places. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place in a small foil-lined baking pan and bake until very tender, 1-1/2 hours. (You’ll use the pan again, so go ahead and line it with foil.)
  3. Transfer the potato to a cutting board and carefully unwrap it. Increase the oven temperature to 400° F.
Ready to Wrap
Ready to Bake 
Baked Potato
  1. When the potato is just cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup of cheese until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the potato-cheese mixture and mound it back into the potato shells.
  2. Place the stuffed potato halves back in the baking pan and bake until beginning to brown on top, about 5 minutes.
Sliced Potato 
Scoop the Flesh and Add the Cheese 
Combined Potato and Cheese 
Stuffed Potato Shells 
Twice-Baked Potatoes
  1. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken sausage and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through, 9-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the scallion, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the potato halves from the oven and transfer to plates.
Sausage Beginning to Cook
Cooked Sausage
Divide the sausage on top of and around the potatoes. Top with the salsa and remaining cheese and serve right away.

Twice-Baked Cheese and Chicken Sausage Potatoes

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